Basic Car Maintenance Every Car Owner Should Know

check engine light

As of 2021, at least 91.3% of Americans own a car. But only a few owners actually know how to maintain their cars.

If your car makes an unusual sound would you know where to look? Forty-one percent of Americans wouldn’t even be able to identify a car’s engine if you showed them an image of it. Let alone find the source of an unusual car sound. This is why we’ve listed down the most basic car maintenance skills every car owner should have:

Checking the Oil Yourself

Believe it or not, it’s easy to check the oil yourself. All you’ll need is a rag or a paper towel. Park your car on a flat leveled surface and turn your engine off. Give it time to cool down or you risk burning yourself.

Once cooled down, open your car’s hood, and try to find the dipstick. The dipstick is typically easy to spot because it looks like a stick with a hook on the top. Pull it out and wipe off any oil on the stick. Then push it down all the way in. Pull it out for a second time and observe the bottom end of the stick.

There should be two holes that indicate your oil’s level. It could also be marked by the letters L and H or the words min and max, sometimes it could only be two lines. But it should be pretty obvious what they indicate. If your oil level is low, you’ll have to add oil to your car. And not just any oil, but the right one for your car specifically. You can check your owner’s manual to see what oil is recommended for your car.

Also, check the color of the oil when you pull it out. It should be brown or black. If it’s light and milky, there could be a coolant leakage in your engine.

Checking Tire Pressure

Checking your car’s tire pressure is basic but you’ll need a tire gauge. They’re usually around $10. All you have to do is find the required tire pressure for your car on the manual. Find the tire valve, unscrew it, and make sure not to lose it. Then press the gauge into the valve for about one to two seconds.

After getting the reading, take out the gauge and screw the valve cap back on. Compare the required tire pressure to the one indicated on the gauge and inflate your tires as needed.

Getting Rid of a Dent for Free

There’s a fun and free way of getting rid of that dent and all it takes is boiling water and a plunger. The first thing you do is turn on your water heater and get some boiling hot water. Pour the hot water onto the dent, take your plunger, then stick it onto the area of the dent. Then give it a pull until you reverse the dent.

Changing A Flat Tire

closeup of car back side of black car

Sixty percent of Americans don’t know how to change a flat tire. This is concerning because a flat tire can occur anytime. And you can’t always rely on a mechanic to come and save you, especially when there’s no cell service. Changing the tire is easy, what most people find intimidating is how to get the jack under the car. To get a full detailed explanation on how to change a tire, click here.

Jump Starting A Dead Battery

All you need to jump-start a dead battery are some jump cables and a separate fully charged car. The only thing you need to remember is where to put the cables. Positive cable (red) should go to positive and negative cable (black) to negative. If you place it in the wrong terminals bad things will happen.

Replacing the Air Filter

People don’t think about their air filters too much but having clean air in your car is important. So, make sure your air filters are cleaned regularly.

Air filter replacements are often cheap and easy to find. All it takes to replace the air filter is popping the old one out and putting in the new one. That’s if you find the filter in the first place. They’re usually found beside the engine inside a black box.

If you’re unsure what to do, then better bring your car to the shop.

Now that you know some of the basic car maintenance skills, why not try it out yourself one day? These things may seem intimidating at first. But there’s nothing a Google search and a how-to tutorial can’t do.

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